Drivers in Texas and around the country who are taken into custody and charged with their first DUI may face serious penalties. Depending on a driver's blood alcohol content when he or she is pulled over, an individual may serve time in jail or be required to perform community service. While a first DUI charge is usually a misdemeanor offense, it could be a felony if there were aggravating circumstances.
For instance, if a driver caused bodily injury to another person, that may be grounds for a felony charge. This could result in spending time in prison as opposed to jail. Even if an individual avoids jail or prison time, a license suspension may restrict an individual's freedom of movement. A suspension could last up to 90 days or longer if a driver failed to take a chemical test.
In most cases, it may be possible to apply for a restricted license that allows a person to go to work, school or a treatment program. Finally, it may be possible to receive a fine as part of a DUI sentence. Fines may be as much as $2,000, and drivers may have to pay court costs, legal fees and fees to get their license back. A driver may also have to pay higher insurance rates.
A conviction for drunk or impaired driving may come with many serious penalties. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to talk to an attorney who may create defenses to that charge. It may be possible to argue that a driver's blood alcohol content was below the legal limit or that a traffic stop was conducted illegally. This may result in a plea bargain or a full acquittal, which may help a driver avoid some or all possible penalties for a first DWI.